by Jim Twamley
There was a Church where the preacher and the song leader were not getting along. This began to spill over into the worship service. One week the preacher preached on commitment, and how we should dedicate ourselves to service. The song leader then led the song, “I shall Not Be Moved.”
The next Sunday, the preacher preached on giving and how we should gladly give to the work of the Lord. The song leader then led the song, “Jesus Paid It All.”
The next Sunday, the preacher preached on gossiping and how we should watch our tongues. The song leader then led the song, “I love To Tell The Story.”
The preacher became very disgusted over the situation, and the next Sunday he told the congregation he was considering resigning. The song leader then led the song, “Oh, Why Not Tonight.”
As it came to pass, the preacher resigned and the next week informed the church that it was Jesus that led him there and it was Jesus that was taking him away. The song leader then led the song, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them. 8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” 20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
2:1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
8 “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
This is a story of a mother desperate to save her child from certain death. She struggled to figure out a way to save her infant son. She took a huge risk and set him adrift in the Nile river – hoping against hope for a miracle. God intervened and brought life when death was knocking at the door.
Many people struggle to find themselves. They think they are full of life and vitality yet they keep searching for meaning for their lives.
They try careers, toys, vacations, physical fitness, new age hocus pokus, volunteerism, Eastern religions, drugs and alcohol, pornography, anything – anything that will bring them temporary satisfaction. They look alive on the outside but they are dead on the inside.
You and I know they won’t find joy until they surrender their lives to Jesus. It’s a God thing – I call it the “surrender principle.” It’s only when they lose their lives and surrender to Christ that they find eternal life. But the “surrender principle” isn’t just for new Christians. It’s for mature Christians as well.
Our enemy, the Devil, works overtime to provide Christians with new opportunities to get distracted. Satan knows your weaknesses and will exploit them. He will set you up and take you down.
Most Christians are on their guard for obvious temptations. So the Devil doesn’t need to tempt you with the big sins. No, he is more subtle than that. He is crafty and sneaks up on you. He doesn’t just call you over to the trap and push you in. No, he leads you there one crumb at a time.
Most Christians have sin in their lives that they are unaware of. It’s like dirt on the bottom of your shoes.
The altar is the place to clean your shoes – leave your dirt at the altar. We need to have a season of prayer and ask God to reveal to us the dirt on our feet. Then we need to repent and surrender to Him. What are the things that are hindering your walk with God? What kind of mess have you tracked into God’s house today? We can’t stand before God with muddy feet.
You’ve got to lose whatever you’re hanging onto that stands between you and God. It must be surrendered. Otherwise you run the risk of losing everything.
What are some of the things that stand between Christians and God?
Jobs – Some Christians allow greed to creep into their lives. They work more and more hours, including when they should be in church, just so they can have more money to buy more things. They’re often too tired to even attend, much less help out.
Unwholesome Entertainment – What kind of filth do you bring into your home in the form of music, video games, movie rentals, romance novels, and soap operas? What kind of filth do you allow your children to see, read, or play?
Wholesome Entertainment – Entertainment can be good for the soul, but it becomes destructive when it takes center stage in your life. We must be careful that we don’t make an idol out of our entertainment interests. Too much time spent on even wholesome entertainment squeezes out God.
Relationships – Some Christians allow their relationships with other people, including family members, to interfere with their walk with God.
Laziness – Some Christians choose to be “Sunday only” Christians. They come to Church and are “spiritual consumers.” They don’t spend time in the Word or in prayer during the week. They only attend on Sunday morning unless there’s something in it for them… like food.
Do you ever wonder why it is that so many more people show up for a Sunday night potluck than a regular Sunday night service?
Lazy Christians don’t help out at the church. What’s your excuse for not helping? Is it your age? My 87 year old grandmother helps with Missionettes and my wife’s 91 year old grandfather helps with rest home ministries twice a month and is a greeter at his church. They both have lost their spouses, both are hard of hearing, and one no longer drives, yet they continue working for the Lord.
What’s your excuse for not helping? Is it that you work and don’t have time to spare? We have Sunday School teachers, youth workers and others who work full time, yet have made time in their busy schedules to serve the Lord here at this Church.
What’s your excuse for not helping? Is it that you help with your kid’s basketball team, you attend PTA and go on all your child’s field trips and are just too busy with school activities to help out at church?
Being involved with your children IS important but it’s also important that they see you involved in working for the Lord. If you’re too busy to work for the Lord, you’re just plain too busy.
Let me tell you about the needs here at our church. Right now we need a Children’s Church teacher, a Children’s Church assistant, a Missionette leader and two Royal Ranger leaders.
We shouldn’t have to beg to fill these jobs. We have enough adults that these positions should be easily filled. Instead, we have no program at all available for the young boys of this church. We have families who have attended on Wednesday night with their sons, who haven’t returned. We have boys who ride the van with their older siblings, who are attending youth group instead of Royal Rangers, because we don’t have an age appropriate class for them. We have another boy who rides the van who is in the Rainbows class – he’s too old for Rainbows but we don’t have anyone to teach the Royal Rangers class he should be in. We have a Missionettes class to offer one child on Wednesday night, but nothing for her brother. We have a class for one child on Wednesday night, but nothing for her cousin. Next year one child will be old enough for Royal Rangers, but we don’t have a class for him to graduate into.
Listen, if we’re going to minister to kids who come here on the church van, we are all going to have to pitch in to provide Christian education for them. They don’t have parents attending – WE have to fill those roles. Yes, even if you were involved ten or 20 years ago when your kids were young. Let’s put the excuses aside, and figure out where God wants us to be involved! Surrender your time and talents to God.
Money – Some Christians don’t tithe. Their hard-earned money is more important than obedience to God. Money has a choke hold on them and they can’t let go. It hurts them to give. They can’t give with a cheerful heart because they have no joy. If that’s you, then you need to surrender your money to God. Don’t lose your soul over money!
Pride and Dignity – Some Christians can’t worship God with exuberant praise and worship. Many of us can’t dance before the Lord because we’re hung up on dignity. Some of us can’t raise our hands to the Lord or kneel before the Lord because of what others might think. Does it really matter what anybody else thinks? They aren’t the audience … God is! If your pride is standing between you and God, you need to surrender it.
Anger and Bitterness – If you are angry with another person, you need to surrender it. If bitterness keeps you up at night, then you need to surrender it.
Fear – You can’t share Jesus with your neighbor because you’re afraid of rejection and ridicule. You can’t go to the altar because you’re afraid people might think you’re less than perfect. You need to surrender your fear and need for perfection!
Hurt and Pain – Past hurts and emotional scars keep you from getting close to God. You’re afraid of being hurt. Feelings of abandonment and panic haunt your soul. Surrender it!
The name Moses means “drew him out of the water.” God has a purpose in everything He does, and your life is no different. God drew Moses out because He had a purpose for his life. We know that Moses was to be the instrument through which God brought deliverance to His people.
Listen Church, WHATEVER stands between you and God –
Many of us don’t even realize we have dirty feet. We don’t know what it is that separates us from a closer walk with God. It’s time we find out and take care of business.
I want each of us to get on our knees before God and ask, “God, what is it that separates me from a closer walk with You?” That’s an honest prayer. That’s a prayer that God will answer.
I don’t want anyone to leave today before you know what it is God wants you to surrender. Once you know what it is, I want you to write it on a piece of paper. It is symbolic of surrender. This is a private matter between you and God.
Let the Holy Spirit search your heart this morning and show you what it is He wants you to surrender to Him.